The Hague to host Afghanistan conference on March 31

Other News Materials 11 March 2009 21:28 (UTC +04:00)

The Hague will host a United Nations conference on the future of Afghanistan at the end of the month, although it was unclear Wednesday whether or not Iran had been invited to attend.

The summit, to be chaired by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, will take place on March 31, on the theme of stabilizing the country.

A spokesman of the Dutch foreign affairs ministry on Wednesday could not confirm yet whether or not Iran had been invited to the summit.

Last week US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will herself attend, said she would like Iran to be present.

The 75 countries participating at the conference will among other topics, discuss how to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a failed state or a safe haven for terrorists, diplomats said.

If Iran is to participate in the summit, it would mark the first chance for direct talks between the US and Iran after years of diplomatic deadlock over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.

Despite the more positive noises coming out of Washington regarding Iran since the inauguration of President Barack Obama, on Wednesday when Iran's supreme leader said that no change has yet been witnessed in the policies of the new administration.

  "The US government is continuing its previous course and there are no signs indicating that the Americans would make up for their previous mistakes," Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.